Keynote Speakers at the FIRST National Conference

FIRST is fortunate that we will have 2 Keynote Speakers at the conference in Providence; former NFL player Shawn Harper and FIRST's own Hunter Steinitz.




Shawn Harper

Former NFL Player, Shawn Harper, was expected to become just another inner-city statistic. With a background of poverty, a broken home, and several learning and speech challenges, there didn’t seem to be much of a future for him. When he made the choice to ultimately refuse the label of “disabled” and live as “uniquely enabled”, his life began to change. His big dreams and tenacity along with key support helped him overcome the challenges and reach his full potential!


He transformed from:

  • A learning-disabled, failing student to a college graduate.
  • An average, uncelebrated football player to a coveted 7-yr NFL veteran.
  • A problem-stutterer to a powerful, national motivational speaker.
  • A struggling reader to author of The Winning Edge: 8 Principles That Will Bring Out the Winner in You.
  • A business rookie to the Owner/CEO of a 7-figure company.

In the NFL, Harper learned how to unpack the specific strategies and techniques used by the world’s professional athletes to compete and win at the highest level. He then discovered that using these same strategies will also create powerful wins in life!

As one of the nation's leading motivational speakers, Harper is helping others to apply new perspectives on persona vision, purpose, potential, leadership, teamwork, communication, and more, building the capacity to WIN in all you do! Come out to the FIRST Conference June 24-26, 2022 to see how he did it and learn how you can do it, too!

For more information, visit his website at and check out his story featured on Goalcast.

Member Keynote: Hunter Steinitz

Hunter is from Pittsburgh, PA, and was born with harlequin ichthyosis.

She is one of the oldest people with HI in the United States and is about to graduate with her Masters of Divinity. Hunter has been a part of the ichthyosis community for over 20 years and she is excited to be with everyone in Providence!


Closing Keynote:  Andrew Buerger

Andrew Buerger is an award-winning entrepreneur of for-profit and non-profit organizations. One venture, B’more Organic, was the #5 on Inc’s Fastest Growing natural/organic brands in 2017. He is the Founder of Jodi’s Climb for Hope which has raised $900,000 for MS and breast cancer research by getting over 350 climbers safely to the summits on four continents. He is currently the Director of Mission for RIND Snacks and Co-Host of the podcast “It’s the Climb.” His book, “Carrying a Flag From Pain to Passion” was a #1 Hot New Release on Amazon’s list of Mountain Climbing books. 

For more info, check out

Conference date & location:

Friday, June 24, 2022 7:00 am - Sunday, June 26, 2022 2:00 pm                  #FIRSTNC22
Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick Airport
801 Greenwich Drive
Warwick, RI 02886


Registration Rates and Dates

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